The Maestro Sacconi
in the testimony of the bow maker, restorer and expert
William Salchow

New York, June 10, 1985
Link : William Salchow

I first met Maestro Sacconi when I came to work for Rembert Wurlitzer in New York in 1955. When John Fairfield's secretary left to be married, I took her place and also became a cello salesman. I quickly became acquainted with Maestro Sacconi while spending my lunch hours in the shop. I was completely fascinated to see his incredible mastery of tools. When he learned that I was talented in the use of my hands, he encouraged me to learn bow repair, which I did very quickly under his guidance, and also with the kind help of his pupil Frank Passa. He was very lavish in his praise when I did something well, and was quick to point out my mistakes with a wonderful sense of humor. His method of rehairing bows, which I learned, was a great gift to the world and is responsible for the preservation of countless bows. His rule was, first and above all, do no harm to instruments and bows, and his way of rehairing is without question the easiest and safest possible.

Maestro Sacconi's enthusiasm for everything he did was irresistible, and he had a great love for bows. After a short time as secretary, I went to the shop to repair bows and started making bows on my own time with the help of Frank Passa and with Sacconi's encouragement and guidance. He especially loved the work of François Tourte as well as Peccatte and the older French makers. As I look back today, I realize that my taste in bows was formed totally by my early association with Maestro Sacconi and is responsible for most of my success as a bow maker.

At that time he introduced me to his good friend Luigi Silva, the cellist, who gave me a personal scholarship to study the cello with him, which later was of immense value to me in the making of cello bows; and he also obtained for me a Fulbright scholarship enabling me to be an apprentice for a year in Mirecourt, France with master French bowmaker Georges Barjonnet. So Maestro Sacconi first pointed me in the direction of bow making, and then made it possible to have my apprenticeship in France, without which I could never have achieved what I did.

In the four years that I was at Wurlitzer, I had a firsthand opportunity to see Maestro Sacconi in action, both as a violin maker and as a teacher. His generosity in the latter was unsurpassed, and he gave his knowledge freely to all who sought his guidance. He stands at the pinnacle of 20th-century violinmaking, a giant among men.

New York, June 10, 1985

Taken from the book: «From Violinmaking to Music: The Life and Works of Simone Fernando Sacconi», presented on December 17, 1985 at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. (Cremona, ACLAP, first edition 1985, second edition 1986, page 94 - Italian / English).